Zen Filter

Zen Buddhist websites, news, and discussion

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Smashing Empty Space To Reveal The Mind Ground

Online Zen book:

We humans are born confused and die confused; confused while we are asleep and confused while we are awake. What value is there in this kind of life?

Read this and find out

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Japanese monks continue journey to Trinity Site

Zen news:

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. Walking in the heat, three Zen Buddhist monks continue their trek to New Mexico's Trinity Site, the once top-secret birthplace of the atomic bomb.
The monks are walking to call attention to the dangers of nuclear war.

They spent some time this week in Phoenix before heading off to New Mexico.

One monk is carrying the 'Atomic Lantern,' lit from the embers of the Hiroshima bomb.

The monks are set to arrive at the Trinity Site August 9th to mark the 60th anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing.

The monks will then extinguish the flame as a symbolic ceremony for the hope of disarmament worldwide.

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly - Zen Convert


When you do meditation practice, there's a lot of pain. You're sitting there cross-legged, which is not a Western way of sitting. You look at the pain in the knee, and you witness: 'That's pain in my knee.' It's really amazing that, as you look at it in this kind of nonjudgmental, not clenching around it, freaking out [way], it starts releasing.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bellingham Zen Practice Group - Stopping the World

Interesting talk by Nomon Tim Burnett:

So [Buddha] figured out that deep and meaningful spiritual practice is not about trying so hard to get something. He realized quite the opposite: deep and meaningful spiritual practice is about letting go of getting something. It’s an activity that operates outside of our usual habit of trying to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want. The kind of meditation he discovered, and the insight that arose from that practice, is that to have a happy life we really need to work with out impulse to chase after happiness. We have to work with out mind to release ourselves a little from this very strong knee-jerk reaction we all have to try to grab onto things we desire, and push away things we dislike.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

ZenDiary.org - Awakening

Another interesting blog post:

Zen Buddhism for me has primarily been focused on two things: 1) reaching an understanding of self and worldly existence, 2) using this understanding to live an ethical life. I spent a lot of time on #1. I don’t think I “get” it all but I feel I have enough of a basis–both intellectual and experiential–that #2 has increasingly become more important to me. What choices can one make? How does one follow the precepts and the eightfold path? How can one work towards the enlightenment of all beings?

jack/zen: Somebody needs to thank them

A good post at the always good Jack/Zen

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Zen of Theater Games

You should read the whole thing, this excerpt is just to whet your appetite:

The first exercise was the mirror - one that I had done many times before. However, she coached us into the mirror urging us to “follow the follower” - where no one is leading and both are following. I knew the sidecoach phrase ‘Follow the Follower” and I thought I had an understanding of it but, I had never been coached like this. Viola’s coaching seemed to keep me constantly off-balance. I didn’t seem to have a chance to copy the movements of my partner. Yet I was doing the movements. Viola’s timing and other comments began to have an effect on me that I had never experienced. I started to loose control. I began to tremble. The harder I fought to accomplish the mirror the more I trembled. Viola yelled into my ear, “Follow the follower!” “Let it flow!” “Let it Flow!”

I really was shaking now. It was a vibration like trying to hold a jet in flight while crashing. The harder I yanked on the stick to gain control, the more I shook. Eventually she called the exercise to an end and released me from this condition. I was ‘shaken’, literally. I sat there dazed. Viola came up behind me put her hand on my shoulder and addressed the class. “Now you see, this young man here had a direct experience[1]. He actually got to see Marty.” (The woman I did the mirror with). She went on “I would guess it was the first time he ever really saw anyone in his entire life.”

Monday, July 25, 2005

Yakrider Meditation Methods

There are as many methods in which one can meditate as there are waves in the ocean.

This site discusses several of those waves.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Wisdom Stories: Zen Peace

Zen Peace

When a rebel army swept into a town in Korea,
all the monks of the Zen temple fled except
for the abbot.

The general came into the temple and was annoyed
that the abbot did not receive him with respect.

“Don't you know,” he shouted,
“that you are looking at a man who can
run you through without blinking?”

“And you,” replied the abbot strongly,
“are looking at a man who can be run
through without blinking!”

The general stared at him,
then made a bow and retired.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Elberon Zen Circle — Suggested Reading List

Another reading list. This one is very Shunryu Suzuki heavy, which is just fine.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Zen Master Seung Sahn - No Mind, No Buddha

No mind, no Buddha, what does that mean? If you strongly practice mantra at that time there is only one mind. One mind means empty mind. Empty mind means before thinking. Before thinking means no speech, no words. Before thinking is true mind, true Buddha. So, no mind, no Buddha.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Zen Master Dae Kwang - Finding Your Compassion

I might have posted this before, but it's worth reading again in any event:

We practice Zen in terms of two essential questions, both of which point directly to the suffering of this world and our role in it. First, 'What are you doing right now?' In other words, 'What are you? What is a human being? Why are you on this planet, right now, right here? Right now!' Second, 'Why do you do what you do?' The Buddha's enlightenment connects with us at this moment through these two questions. Actually, these two questions are one question: What are you? This is the great question of life and death.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Zen masters say "Don't seek the truth - just drop your opinions

Some Zen sayings:

When you forget the good and the non-good, the worldly life and the religious life, and all other dharmas, and permit no thoughts relating to them to arise, and you abandon body and mind—then there is complete freedom. When the mind is like wood or stone, there is nothing to be discriminated.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Interesting article:

To begin the path is like being an explorer facing a tangled jungle, which is the unexplored mind. The explorer (us, you and me) intrepidly enters the Way; the end of suffering is in there somewhere in this jungle. We want to find it. At first there seems to be a path, but suddenly it changes, disappears, the treasure map is wrong. We, the novice explorers, get rapidly lost in the emotional and mental paths which branch out all over the place. We start out thinking that the path is clear and apparent, but then it seems to disappear and all we see is a jungle maze for quite a while. We begin with a naive notion; we have an idea of path which is not the path itself, it’s just an idea, and, like any other idea, subject to change, tumult, suffering…the whole works of illusion and delusion. The path is simply the experience of actually walking, or training, but, at first, you really think you have a goal which is graspable, like the treasure of Nirvana or some such.

P.S. ZenFilter is going on vacation for a few days. Just meditate till I get back.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Zen Dream Futon Cover

futon coverMore Zen marketing, for sleepy Zensters:

Fabric Makeup:

50% cotton, 50% polyester

Washing instructions:

dry clean only

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Zen Frequently Asked Questions

Another good Zen FAQ:

Question: 'Many Americans seem to think of the characters in Zen stories as being individualistic, 'cool' guys with lots of 'attitude.' Is this accurate?'

It is a truism that we see what we are looking for. There are a number of areas in which Zen looks familiar and attractive to Americans, which is why Zen lore has been able to enter our popular culture so easily. Bodhidharma walks out of the 'West' into China and seems to resemble some lone gunman entering a dusty cattle town. He is brought before the Emperor, who proceeds to tell him about all the temples he has built and good works he has done. The Emperor then asks how much merit he has earned for these activities and Bodhidharma says 'No merit.' The familiar pennywhistle sounds in our mental soundtrack and we seem to be watching A Fistful of Dharmas. The mondo, or dharma combats, that make up so many of the koans and Zen stories are full of characters who seem to us very quick on the verbal draw, unpredictable, and even violent.

We need a little bit of historical perspective.

Monday, July 11, 2005

If You Practice, You Will See It

Interesting article by Anne Seisen Saunders, Sensei:

'The principle of causation means that those who practice will realize enlightenment. It's as straightforward as that.' The point is, cause and effect means, if you practice you will see it, automatically. That's why Dogen Zenji says practice and realization are one, because of the law of cause and effect. If you practice, you will see it. He says, 'Practice well.' If you have faith, doubt, determination, keep on going. You will see it. And, as a matter of fact, you are it right now, and it is not a matter of doing anything, except practice well. At some point, we have to see it. It's not something we create or conjure up. It's right here ready to be revealed.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Zen quotes

Some nice ones, including:

Real Practice has orientation or direction, but it has no purpose or gaining idea, so it can include everything that comes
- Shunryu Suzuki

Saturday, July 09, 2005


An interesting discussion that begins with this post:

I'm just thinking about how it seems that we...okay, maybe just *I* get fucked up with Zen, thinking it is 'a certain way'...we're either Zen or we aren't, in any given situation. But doesn't that lend to an idea that there is some correct way of thinking and behaving? If there is a correctness, then all the Zen Masters would essentially be saying the same thing...but they don't...well, they sorta do...but then they don't.

If we respect individuality, then we must respect how individuals come up with their own way of living, interpreting and dealing with the miracle.

Does Zen contradict individuality?...or affirm it?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Zen Fountain

More Zen Marketing:

If life’s really getting to you, treat yourself to a little serenity. Ten minutes with the Zen fountain is like half an hour at the beach.

Sunburn not included

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Stillness and Contentedness

Interesting dharma talk:

Contentment is often considered the fulfillment of desire. I don’t know if any of your desires have ever been satisfied, but when mine have, they are pretty quickly replaced by new desires. I heard about a study done with people who had won the lottery and instantly became multi-millionaires, and it concluded that the happiness they felt when they heard that they had won lasted about five minutes. I don’t know if this is true, but I think the habit of wanting, of reaching away from ourselves, is so strong for most of us, that it just overtakes us.

Sacred Contract

Zen and contracts. All you Zen lawyers out there will particularly enjoy this Dharma talk:

There are three possible ways of dealing with a contract. 1) You keep it. 2) You break it. 3) You re-negotiate it.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Jataka Tales


I. The Monkey and the Crocodile
II. How the Turtle Saved His Own Life
III. The Merchant of Seri
IV. The Turtle Who Couldn't Stop Talking

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Zen at War

Book review:

The wartime complicity of Zen institutions is hardly news to scholars of Japanese religion, but this is the first study in English to present detailed evidence and address the important issues at length. A few years ago Rude Awakenings (ed. Heisig and Maraldo) provided a potpourri of essays on Kyoto School nationalism which offered contradictory opinions of its founding fathers impossible for a nonspecialist to adjudicate. Zen at War is a more accessible overview that focuses primarily on institutional Buddhism, especially Zen, from 1868 to the present day.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Reef - Zen - Hot Pink / Blue

Yes, it's more Zen marketing for some Friday fun:

Combo of Asian floral silk and printed stain dots on the straps and footbed

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